The hard part came when I had to run during vacations or while family was visiting. My runs started to get longer as race time got closer. If I didn't have a clear goal for the week then it was very hard for me to put other things aside and to get out and do the mileage. Sometimes it was uncomfortably hot and I would get so dehydrated or I would get blisters on my toes or a side stitch if I ate too closely to my workout, but I just did it anyways. My dad always told me that a little pain is what lets you know that you are alive. I truly believe this and I think that too many people these days are too comfy. It was during these hard times that I realized that I personally was not strong enough. My will, my determination, my body was not strong enough, but I realized that if I gave the time and the effort, God would take me the rest of the way. Some of you may think this is silly, but I really believe that if you never push yourself to an uncomfortable place you will never grow and you will never see what is possible. I had a few runs where the first three miles I was fine and the last six to eight I just wanted to give up and I questioned my reasoning for continuing.
A week before my race I ran my last long run before my tapering. I was so excited to get this last run over with and to actually run this half marathon that had been in my head all summer. During the run I felt great. I finished tired and hot of course so I jumped in the pool and then just laid down for a while. When I got up from my couch I could barely walk on my left foot. I figured it was just soreness and thought that it would just go away with stretching, massaging and with time. The week went by and I found myself in Virginia Beach for the marathon limping to pick up my race packet. It was this moment that I decided that it wasn't worth it. Being uncomfortable is one thing but being injured was another. It was hard to swallow but I had to decide not to run in this race that I had trained, and sacrificed for all summer. It hurt to think about all of the suffering I had gone through, but it just wasn't worth ruining my foot for even longer, especially because I am a Phys. Ed teacher and a coach.
I expected to be retiring these shoes after my big hurrah in Virginia Beach. These shoes had carried me miles and miles all over Maryland, Pennsylvania, and even California.
Things do not always turn out like we think they will. I've had a lot of time to think about this now and although I am disappointed I have learned a lot about myself and about people in general. We tend to place the most value on the end result and we give almost no credit to the journey. What if I did no training and went and ran in a half marathon. What would I have gained? The ability to where a T-shirt that says Virginia Beach half marathon? We learn, grow, and gain perspective through our trials and it is so important that we enjoy the journey and not just the end result, because in some cases it is all about the journey at not at all about an ending.
So, here I sat on the beach staring at my shoes that had carried me thus far, feeling proud of myself for my mental and physical endurance throughout the summer and feeling privileged to have gained this perspective on life.